ONE thing’s for sure, the SEAT Alhambra that arrived for a week-long test drive with me was a lot posher than I ever imagined it would be.
We’re talking full leather, automatic rear sliding doors and all the bells and buttons.
And it turned out that my tester wasn’t even top spec.
My first impressions, before even turning the key, were that if you want luxury family travel coupled with lots of practicality, then this is an impressive vehicle.
And so it turned out to be as my time with it went on.
There are four trim levels – S, SE, SE L and Xcellence.
Base spec S still gets alloys, colour touch screen, USB connections, climate control, auto-wipers, electric windows all round, parking sensors front and back, start/stop, electric handbrake, seven full-sized individual seats, hill hold, various safety features and more besides.
That’s arguably more than enough for a decent family move.
For those wanting more, though, SE adds bigger alloys (17in rather than 16in), tinted rear windows, chrome trim here and there, auto lights with auto high beam, cruise control, 12v power sockets in the rear, folding tables for rear passengers and bits of leather among its accoutrements.
SE L – which we drove – gives you the very useful power tailgate and power rear sliding door, sat nav, rear view camera, electric and heated front seats and headlight washers on top.
Top-end Xcellence tops things out with an electric panoramic sunroof, more visual additions and sports suspension.
Engine-wise you and petrol and two diesel variants.
The diesel we drove, the 150ps, was powerful if not that exciting, but managed 35-40mpg on the cruise, which in a big family car like this isn’t to be sniffed at.
Both diesels are a 2.0 litre unit, one offering 150ps and the other 177ps. Predictably, the 150ps is slightly better on fuel, making 54 combined compared to the high-powered car’s 50.
A petrol is available, but most are likely to head for diesel in a wagon like this.
It’s a fairly lively 1.4 TSI, again with 150ps, and is quicker to 62mph than the 150ps diesel, but economy drops by around 10mpg compared to the oil-burner.
None are bad options at the end of the day, however.
The Alhambra is a solid drive and doesn’t roll much for a taller car. It’s a comfortable ride, which is of course key given the type of long-distance motoring it’ll often be called upon to do.
Inside there’s lots of clever storage including a big compartment centre of dash and things like big bottle holders in the rear doors.
You can also accessorise with things like a surfboard or ski holder, roof bars, child-friendly things like seat covers and even pet-friendly bits like a cargo grille and protective seat and luggage bay covers.
You can also add an espresso machine (really), headrest hooks, a power bank and an umbrella.
SEAT really does seem to have thought about all of its potential buyers here.
And they won’t be disappointed inside – the overall quality, fit and finish is excellent.
Third row accommodation is decent and when not in use you’ve got a large boot, as well as easy fold flat seats for when you need all of that rear space for cargo.
If you need family practicality but don’t want to compromise on a luxury and quality then the Alhambra is a great choice.
Prices run from £27,605 to £38,340.
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